Wednesday, 22 June 2016

June 2016 Mayow Park tree walk part 1

On 5th June the Friends of Mayow Park held their first ever family-friendly tree walk, aimed at adults and children alike. A total of 18 adults and 10 children attended the walk.
Mayow Park has quite a few unique and unusual trees within its boundary but this 90 minute walk was only able to take in a few, an introduction to what the park has to offer.
Our walk started near the cafe and first stop was the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), a magnificent conifer that sheds its leaves in the winter - so it is a deciduous tree.  It is a fast growing tree and possibly only about 50 - 60 years old. Wouldn't it be great  if someone would  research park records to find out exactly when it was planted and its origin?

Dawn  as she looked in early April before her leaves grew back
Photo of  Dawn on 22nd June 2016
Jon showed us a method of calculating the height of this tree by using a home-made clinometer. This measured the angle from the person holding the clinometer to the top of the tree, then measuring the distance in metres from the person to the tree, drawing a triangle and then using a process of  mathematical calculations. Our calculations gave a height of 20.7 metres high though we should really try this again a few times for accuracy.
The girth of this tree was measured by Mike with the help of some children and came to 3.9 metres.
We gathered round the tree and felt its bark.
distinctive bark of the Dawn Redwood
Next stop was the weeping silver birch - another ornamental tree. When it was planted or why is another piece of research for someone.
weeping silver birch on 2nd April without its leaves.
The photo above (taken with permission of the parent)  is of a girl I spoke to in early April who explained this was her favourite tree as it felt like a spirit tree. In June, with the tree in leaf, it creates a small sheltered area where I have seen people sitting and enjoying the space. See below.
The same weeping silver birch on 22nd June 2016
We also looked at the nearby row of native silver birch trees. These were planted approximately 8 to 10 years ago (I am guessing) when the bowls cabins had been installed  for the bowls club that was active at the time. The cabins were (and still are) rather unattractive so the silver birch trees and the hedgerow bushes were planted to green the space and create a visually more pleasing view.
This row of silver birch partially hides the cabins
It seems that silver birch trees can be used to improve the soil for other plants. Its deep roots bring up nutrients into the tree and leaves and these are recycled onto the soil surface when the tree sheds its leaves. Of course other deciduous trees do the same, so I have yet to find out what is special about the nutrients in silver birch leaves. A distinctive feature of silver birch is the bark, which peels away like paper, making it easier to identify the tree.

To be continued . . .


Most of our regular park users will be delighted to see that work has started to resurface the worst sections of path in Mayow Park. The last major work on sections of path was completed in July 2011; it went from the Recreation Road entrance and the holm oak (the climbing tree)  along past the children's playground and then stopped. It included wooden boards for neat path edging and was very much appreciated. The path was now safer for toddlers and young children learning to ride their bikes.
That was only a fraction of the remedial path work identified but it was very costly. Officers from Lewisham Greenscene had worked hard to find sufficient funds while Glendale discussed with Friends of Mayow Park what was proposed and which stretch of path. Glendale officers organised the works and supervised contractors.  We knew it would be a long time before we would see works to other stretches of path. So this week brought good news when contractors and their vehicles arrived to start work on the path going east from the children's playground.  Other stretches of path will also be resurfaced - look out for the yellow marks at the worst locations.  But there is not enough funding to do the whole park.
Clear signage for park usres

contractor vehicles at the ready

Path edging timber clearly visible on the left of the path

Close-up of path timber edging

Clear view of  curving timber edging board showing path outline

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Families adopt orchard fruit trees

Four of the seven trees we planted in March have been adopted by families. They have agreed to water the trees once a week during the summer months, to keep weeds out of the mulched area and watch out for any pests and diseases which might affect the health of the fruit trees.
Here are two of the families in action:
watering the cherry

watering the Core Blimey

And one family receives their certificate

Fruit blossom in the orchard

The orchard trees have been looking glorious as, one by one, they have blossomed. The following photos were taken between early April and end May 2016 as the trees blossomed at different times. Although some of the photos are in a previous post I included them again. Since these photos were taken some of the trees are already developing small fruitlets.
orchard early April
Fruit blossom at dusk

Plum blossom

Red Windsor
Cox's Orange Pippin
Apple- Lane's Prince Albert
Conference Pear

Monday, 23 May 2016

Tree walk Sunday 5th June 2016


Come and join us to help find out more about the trees in Mayow Park and have fun with your family at the same time.
Activities on the day include:
 1. Meet our special trees: Find out about the ancient oaks, monkey puzzle, dawn redwood, weeping silver birch, holm oak (the climbing tree), plus share stories, myths and legends about the trees.
2. Nature detectives: Identify trees by their leaves.
3. Orchard identification: Find out about the 11 trees planted in 2012.
4. Bark rubbings: Paper & crayons provided.
5. Tree measuring: Using different methods, we’ll  record the height and girth of some of the trees for the park’s record.
Meet us at our table at the Triangle by the café at 10.30 to get your activity sheets and join us on a guided walk.

For more information email:

Saturday, 7 May 2016

our blossoming orchard May 2016

Have you noticed that the grass in our orchard has not yet been cut? There is a good reason. After our incredibly wet winter and early spring the ground in the orchard was extremely soggy until the end of April and some areas are still damp. Attempts to bring in heavy mowing vehicles to mow the grass would have left deep ruts in the mud or they would have got stuck.

On a personal level I am pleased at the delay. The longer grass looks attractive, has encouraged ground-feeding birds to forage and allowed more flowering plants to grow than we would have seen previously. Look carefully and you will see slim plants dotted around with white or pale lilac flowers, that stand taller than the grass. These are Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis) also known as cuckoo flower, part of the brassica family (think of cabbages and salad rocket). Although these plants are common throughout the UK, they prefer wet grassland - which summarises the state of the orchard grassland in recent months.

When we originally planted the first orchard trees in February 2012, the site was damp, not saturated. But planting in March 2016, after months of heavy rain, meant most of the site was unusually muddy and not ideal for our young trees.
Now that the ground in the orchard is drying, it is becoming rock hard again and cracks are appearing due to the heavy clay subsoil.
The recently planted fruit trees have started their once-a-week watering regime, tended by volunteers who have 'adopted' them, bringing water from home to water the trees as park water supplies are not easy to access.
Meanwhile the established fruit trees have been flowering in succession, attracting local photographers to capture the splendid blossoms. In future years, when the new trees will also flower, it would be a perfect time to celebrate the beauty of our orchard.

conference pear
Conference pear tree

Apple Red Windsor

Czar plum
Czar plum

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Mayow Park gets spruced up

Over the last few weeks, in anticipation of spring weather, some  grounds maintenance and improvements have taken place in Mayow Park, with positive comments  from park users. The surface under the tennis table was so bad that people stopped playing.
ground under table tennis table
The ground was uneven and very muddy after rain. Glendale was informed and within a few days the surface under the table had been renewed.
fresh new surface under the table
The children's playground has had ongoing problems withe muddy ground under the 'mushrooms' and circus for sometime. This bit of the playground is very well used, the ground gets compacted and  clay subsoil makes the problem worse.
muddy mushrooms before works
muddy mushrooms from another angle
The photos above show how muddy the ground became. The Friends of Mayow Park had a walk around the park with a Glendale manager a few weeks ago and raised concerns from parents about the state of this part of the playground. Glendale discussed with the Friends group what would be the best long-term solution. A possible option was to dig a pit in the area of the mushrooms and circus and fill with bark chips. This has worked successfully under the wooden climbing frame and under the play equipment in the old paddling pool. Glendale agreed to do this work as soon as feasible.
Today, 27th April, the work we had been promised was undertaken and completed.
 A team of Glendale grounds maintenance staff came along with a lorry full of bark chips. They dug  the pit, removed the soil to be used elsewhere and filled the pit to a good depth with barks chips. They also renewed the chips under the play equipment in the former paddling pool area.

fresh, deep mulch among the mushrooms

bark chip mulch should improve drainage
Bark mulch top up under equipment in former paddling pool

Glendale informed the Friends group that the following works would be undertaken in the next few weeks:
     Creation of a small bark pit around the mushrooms in the play area to prevent waterlogging  This was completed on 27th April 2016
     Repairs to areas of chainlink fencing at the back of the trim trail and towards Thriftwood entrance
     Replacement of 2 support posts to shelter on edge of cricket field
     Topping up of play bark to main play area and cable slide.(done) 

Grass cutting has also been a problem due to saturated ground. There was some grass mowing a couple of weeks ago but it had to be abandoned. It  was more successful today but some areas have had to remain unmown as the ground is still too damp. Despite this the park is looking at its best at the moment.